Fred’s return from an all-conquering Canadian tour has been a long-awaited one, but the Whelan’s crowd don’t mind taking an extra half hour to enjoy the fantastically named Brad Pitt Light Orchestra. All dressed up for the prom, BPLO’s music is a festival of contrast and melodrama. A violin, double bass and megaphone take their place amongst more traditional Indie instrumentation, and the stark vocal contrast provided by the three Limerick siblings up front quickly lodges in the skull. It’s all the drama of -Phantom of the Opera’ with added indie cool.
Fred, however, are the reason Whelan’s is rammed toe-to-toe right back to the entrance. The five-piece from Cork step on stage with all the confidence of a band who know they’re going places, smiling and strutting during the energetic -Keep Me Clear’ (-a song about how every man needs a woman to keep him in check’) and pogo-ing to upbeat single -The Lights’. The performance seems to gain in energy with every passing minute; after half an hour the crowd have graduated from toe tapping, through swaying to bouncing and throwing clenched fists into the air.
If you haven’t heard Fred yet, you will soon. Their lively pop rock breaks the mould by being both fun and emphatically upbeat, without descending into a cheese fest. The added power of their live show is what’s been winning over Canada (‘Good One’ was nominated as a top 10 Indie track for 2008 by iTunes, alongside Radiohead and Mogwai); in person Fred are all about vibrant, crisp sounds and catchy pop music.
Any question so far? Joseph asks mid way through the set, but Fred couldn’t be further from a lecture if they tried. It’s rare to see a band genuinely enjoying a live show the way Fred seem to, and the good feeling rubs off on the Whelan’s audience by the bucket load. There’s a sense that Fred are on the brink of something truly great, but for now they’re quite content to kick back, show off their obvious talents and enjoy a ride to the big time that seems to be well underway.